ARIZONA STATE SENATE
Forty-ninth Legislature, Second Regular Session
FACT SHEET FOR S.B. 1241
water recharge; direct use.
Retroactive to January 1, 2009, allows the Director
of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (Director) to exclude certain
withdrawn groundwater when calculating a water storer’s long-term storage
The Groundwater Management Code (Code) was enacted in
1980 to control severe groundwater depletion and to provide the means for
allocating Arizona’s groundwater resources effectively to meet the state’s
future needs. The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) administers the
Code. As part of its groundwater management framework, the Code designates five
Active Management Areas (AMAs) - Phoenix, Prescott, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Tucson - where there is a heavy reliance on mined groundwater.
In 1987, the Legislature enacted laws providing for
the underground storage of water and related aquifer recharging activities
(A.R.S. § 45-801.01 et seq.). According to A.R.S. 45-801.01, it is the public
policy of state to protect Arizona’s general economy and welfare by encouraging
the use of renewable water supplies, instead of groundwater, through a flexible
and effective regulatory program for the underground storage, savings and
replenishment of water.
The ADWR, through the Director, issues water storage
permits and recharge facility permits, and regulates an accounting system for
the permittee’s accounts pursuant to the state’s public policy. When eligible
water (e.g. effluent, Central Arizona Project water) is stored underground for
more than one year, long-term storage credits may be issued. The Central
Arizona Water Conservation District, which is a tax-levying public improvement
district that manages the Central Arizona Project (CAP), also requires the
execution of a water storage agreement for those who intend to store excess CAP
water at one of its six recharge facilities located in the Phoenix, Pinal and
As it relates to long-term storage credits, S.B. 1241
only applies to the storage of CAP water within an AMA by a storer that is not
a municpal provider.
Long-term storage credits are earned in the process of
storing eligible water that exceeds the amount of groundwater that has been
pumped by the water storage permittee during a calendar year, provided the
stored water could not have reasonably been put to direct use. The statute
prescribes requirements for the Director to follow when determining the eligibility
of long-term storage credits. Stored water is eligible for long-term storage
credits if the water meets all of the following criteria: 1) the water
cannot reasonably be used directly, which is defined in A.R.S. §
45-802.01(22) and commonly referred to as “waterbud”; 2) the water was not
recovered on an annual basis (short-term); and 3) the water would not have been
naturally recharged within an AMA.
Long-term storage credits generated through the
storage of water are held for the purpose of subsequent recovery and use, and
may also be sold, leased and exchanged within the AMA where the credits were
earned. Recharge permit holders are required to file annual reports with ADWR,
and statutes provide for recovery requirements.
There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state
General Fund associated with this legislation.
Retroactive to January 1, 2009, modifies the definition of water that
cannot reasonably be used directly to instruct the Director, when
calculating long-term storage credits for water storage permit holders, to
exclude the amount of groundwater that was withdrawn during the year for
mineral extraction and metallurgical processing and that was delivered in the
same year to an irrigation district. The irrigation district must be located
in the same AMA where the groundwater was withdrawn and the delivered water
must be put to direct use by that district. In addition, in order for the
groundwater that was withdrawn for mineral extraction to be exempted from the
Director’s calculation, there must be a demonstrated reduction in the amount of
groundwater (savings to the aquifer) that otherwise would have been withdrawn
by that district during the year. The provisions of S.B. 1241 apply only to
stored CAP water within an AMA by a storer that is not a municipal provider.
Repeals the provisions of S.B. 1241 on January 1, 2025.
Makes technical and conforming changes.
Becomes effective on the general effective date.
Adopted by Committee
Adds a retroactivity clause and delayed repeal date.
NRIPD DPA 2/8/10 5-2-0-0